US Air Force bombers, drones and surveillance planes patrolling the Southern hemisphere for operational training wound up helping law enforcement entities and identify 17 illegal drug traffickers and seize thousands of kilos of cocaine, senior service officials told Scout Warrior.
“A little Air Force goes a long way in South America. As a result of the increase in air power, authorities seized 6,100 kilos of cocaine,” Air Force Secretary Deborah James told reporters.
The counter drug, transnational crime activities took place within the broader context of a US Air Force training interoperability and mission preparedness exercise in the area involving C-130s, B-1s, B-52s, Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System, or JSTARs, Airborne Warning and Control System, or AWACS, Global Hawk drones and tanker aircraft, she explained
Air Force assets and personnel worked in tandem with FBI, Coast Guard and other law enforcement official to help identify, track and arrest illegal truck traffickers in the region.
“This was a large-scaled integrated operation which added training value and also contributed to the mission,” James said.
The operation, which took place over a five-day period in late August, included the use of space and cyber assets as well, however James declined to elaborate on what these might involve.
While James did not specify a timetable, she did say these kinds of dual-operations would likely take place more in the future.
Kris Osborn became the Managing Editor of Scout Warrior in August of 2015. His role with Scout.com includes managing content on the Scout Warrior site and generating independently sourced original material. Scout Warrior is aimed at providing engaging, substantial military-specific content covering a range of key areas such as weapons, emerging or next-generation technologies and issues of relevance to the military. Just prior to coming to Scout Warrior, Osborn served as an Associate Editor at the Military.com. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army - Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at CNN and CNN Headline News. This story originally appeared in Scout Warrior.